C.J. Anderson orange uniform
.
One of the players receiving the most buzz lately is Denver Broncos running back Devontae Booker. He totaled 59 yards on Sunday and 53 yards last night. Meanwhile starter C.J. Anderson managed 62 yards and 71 yards respectively. Anderson has been produced more yards, but Booker has been more effective. Booker averaged 6.3 yards per carry and 6.6 yards per touch over that stretch. Meanwhile, Anderson averaged 3.7 yards per carry and 4.8 yards per touch. Is it time for C.J. Anderson owners to panic?
.
Not just yet.
.
The main issue for the Broncos has been their quarterback play of late. Paxton Lynch sported a 81.0 passer rating against the Falcons on Sunday. He completed 23 or 35 yards for 223 yards, a touchdown and an interception. Lynch dinked and dunked his way to 6.4 yards per attempt.
.
Things took a turn for the worst on the Thursday Night Game when Trevor Siemian returned. He completed 30 of 50 passes with a touchdown. Even though he was interception-free, he managed just a 77.9 passer rating and a lowly 4.6 yards per attempt.
.
They don’t need John Elway or Peyton Manning performances from Siemian, but the Broncos do need him to stretch the field some to get the running game going. Not only will Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders benefit, but it should allow both Anderson and Booker to be effective backs.
.
As I mentioned in a preseason piece on Anderson, Anderson started off slow last year before finishing strong. Over the last 11 games last year he averaged 6.4 yards per carry. When it counted the most Anderson was at his best, averaging 18 carries and three receptions en route to 91 total yards and 0.7 touchdowns per game during the Broncos Super Bowl run.
.
Let’s not forget how effective Anderson was in the first two weeks when he averaged 116 total yards and 1.5 touchdowns per game.
.
In this “what have you done for me lately” society you may be able to take advantage of his recent struggles and the Booker buzz to get Anderson at a discounted rate. In the meantime, if Booker is available in your league, go ahead and stash him.
.
.
Also check out:

C.J. Anderson
.
The Denver Broncos will begin their Super Bowl defense with Trevor Siemian under center barring a major development. At some point in the season the Paxton Lynch era could begin. Given the lack of experience in the game’s most important position, coupled with a stout defense, the Broncos should have a heavy run-oriented attack in 2016.
.
Anderson is once again in line for a heavy load for the Broncos. The good news, is owners could be a little skittish because last year was supposed to be his monster year. That never really materialized.
.
Anderson ran for 720 yards and five touchdowns last year. He did, however, manage to run for 4.7 yards per carry for the second straight season. C.J. added 25 receptions for 183 yards. Anderson never received more than 15 carries last year. I’m not worried that he cannot handle a heavy workload though.
.
In 2014 Anderson averaged 27.3 carries over a four-game stretch and 23.3 over the final six games to close out the season. During that six-game stretch he averaged 129.8 total yards and 1.5 total touchdowns per game. Hence the high expectations heading into 2015.
.
Anderson’s first six games in 2015 was a total opposite of his 2014 finish. He averaged 46.7 total yards without reaching paydirt. Anderson averaged a mere 2.7 yards per crack. In his next 11 games he increased his production to 56.6 total yards per game while scoring all five of his touchdowns. C.J. averaged 6.4 yards per carry during that stretch.
.
Denver ramped up his usage during the playoffs as he averaged 18 carries and three receptions en route to 91 total yards and 0.7 touchdowns per game during the Broncos’ Super Bowl run.
.
Given the current state of the Broncos’ offense, look for them to lean heavily on Anderson early. If he can stay healthy, he certainly has the ability to crack the top 10 or even a little higher. I recently updated my RB rankings to move him to RB13.


.
There aren’t many more polarizing football players than Tim Tebow. You pretty much either love him or hate him. Many expected him to fall flat on his face because of his questionable mechanics entering the league. Many figured he would thrive because at the end of the day he is a great football player.
.
The Broncos took a long time to hand him the keys and he had mixed results. Tebow had a quiet first start against the Raiders in Week15 completing eight of sixteen passes for 138 yards. He had one touchdown and did not throw a pick. Tebow added 78 yards and a score on the ground.
.
In his next start, Tebow threw for 308 yards (16 of 29) with a touchdown and an interception. He ran for another touchdown, with 27 yards on the ground. Before you give him too much credit in this one, Houston’s pass defense was historically bad last year.
.
He wrapped up his rookie season completing 16 of 36 passes for 205 yards with a pair of touchdown passes and interceptions. He added 94 yards and a score on the ground.
.
While he is still a work in progress in the passing game, he already has shown he can produce with his feet. He ran for six touchdowns in just 43 attempts at 5.3 yards per carry. Tebow had runs of 40 and 30 yards showing his explosiveness.
.
It’s that ability that makes him a solid QB2 in my book, assuming that Kyle Orton is either dealt or comes into the season as the backup. Obviously if he’s not the starter, you can’t rely on him for fantasy purposes, but that should all be sorted out by the time you draft. I’m operating under the assumption that Tebow will be the Broncos’ starting quarterback.
.
Not having the OTAs will hurt a guy like Tebow since he could have used the reps. Knowing how hard of a worker Tebow is, we all know he didn’t sit idle. Tebow will have his ups and downs, but his running ability should give him a nice base score to start with each week so he won’t have to do as much with his arm as other quarterbacks to turn in a solid fantasy performance.
.
Since you’ll be drafting Tebow as a backup, you won’t want to take him if Philip Rivers, Matt Cassel, and whoever ends up starting for Arizona, Seattle, and Tennessee since they share the same bye week as Tebow.
.
.

Also check out:


.
We’ll wrap up the AFC running back scene by heading out west.
.
Jamaal Charles is the best in the West. He showed 2009 was no fluke by running for 1467 yards with five touchdowns. He added another 468 yards and three touchdowns on 45 receptions. Charles is expected to carry an even bigger load for the Chiefs this year, which puts him in the conversation for the number one overall pick in fantasy drafts. He will likely be a top four pick in most fantasy leagues. Thomas Jones will still be in the picture, and while he is much more than just a handcuff to Charles, I do expect his production to decrease.
.
Darren McFadden finally delivered last year erupting for 1157 yards and seven touchdowns. He added 47 catches for 507 yards and three more scores. He is a bit of a risk as he has missed 20.8 percent (ten of 48) games in his young career. Hard to argue with his production as a bona fide RB1. He will likely be the sixth to tenth running back selected. Michael Bush is a free agent, but the Raiders are likely to make a play to keep him. Given Run DMC’s injury history, Bush is a high-end handcuff.
.
Knowshon Moreno has had some moments, but many (myself included) think he will take a big step forward with John Fox on board. If he can stay healthy, he can easily build upon the 1151 (779 rushing, 372 receiving) total yard and eight (five rushing, three receiving) touchdowns. The Broncos will likely add to their backfield once free agency opens up. Obviously who they bring in will determine Moreno’s fantasy worth, but he looks like a solid RB2.
.
In San Diego you have a pair of running backs that should provide fantasy goodies. Ryan Mathews had a disappointing rookie season, and should be much better in 2011. He will likely be the 15th-20th running back taken in fantasy drafts. I’d prefer to get him as my RB3 given his injury history and the presence of Michael Tolbert, who is a low-end RB3 or high-end RB4. Darren Sproles will likely part ways with the Chargers when the lockout ends.
.
.

Also check out:


.
San Diego’s Philip Rivers is easily the class of the division. It doesn’t matter who who is throwing too. Vincent Jackson holds out and only plays four games? Ho hum. Rivers throws for 4710 yards. Antonio Gates has nine touchdowns in the first eight games and then misses six of the next eight games? Big deal. Rivers throws 30 TDs (13 INT). Rivers remains a top tier QB1.
.
Kansas City got 3116 yards and 27 TDs (7 INTs) from Matt Cassel and added the 6’4″ Jonathan Baldwin to his arsenal. He should take some of the pressure Dwayne Bowe, who exploded for 1162 yards and 15 TDs last year. Bowe had just one touchdown in the last five games while averaging 55.4 yards. The Chiefs also added Rodney Hudson to help their offensive line. Cassel is a solid QB2 going into the 2011 season.
.
John Elway is on board with Tim Tebow as the Broncos’ quarterback. Tebow will have his ups and downs, but should be a solid QB2 thanks to his ability to run the football. He had six rushing touchdowns last year. New coach John Fox has Kyle Orton on top of the depth chart, but he could be traded once the lockout is lifted. If he beats out Tebow, he will also be a solid QB2. I just assume at some point Tebow would get a chance to start.
.
Then there is the Raiders. Jason Campbell is the starter, but he’s not much of a fantasy option. He topped 240 yards just twice.  He had one or fewer touchdown passes in ten of the 13 games he played in. I would look elsewhere for my backup fantasy quarterback.
.
.

Also check out:

 


.
This week’s topic
:
The one player whose fantasy value is most stronglycorrelated to the system he plays in (affecting him either positively or negatively).

.

My response:
My initial thought was Deion Branch. After all he was a quality receiver for the Patriots, struggled in Seattle, and was a quality receiver when he returned to New England.  While he certainly fits the bill, injuries also played a role in his Seattle regression.
.
After further consideration I came to Brandon Marshall.
.
Marshall is a physical specimen at 6’4″, 230 pounds. He flourished in Denver posting three consecutive 100 catch seasons. It didn’t matter if it was Jay Cutler or Kyle Orton under center. Marshall was a force in Denver. His antics led to his departure, and one could argue that he couldn’t have found many worse landing spots.
.
Marshall still caught over six passes per game for the Dolphins, but only managed to score three touchdowns. He didn’t catch is second touchdown reception until Week 14. While he reached the 1000 yard mark for the fourth straight year, it’s only because he averaged 101.7 yards per game over the past three weeks. In his first 11 games, Marshall averaged 64.5 ypg.
.
All indications are that the Dolphins will be looking for a new quarterback, which will make it Marshall’s fourth in four years. They also have major question marks at running back. The state of the Broncos offense is in complete disarray. Time will tell what their system will like like next year. While the move to Miami may have increased the value of Marshall’s bank account, it took a hard hit on his fantasy value.

 


.
This week’s topic
:
What top 15 wide receiver do you feel is poised for a fall?
Click here for the full article.

.
My response:
I’m sorry, but I’m not a believer in Brandon Lloyd next year. He was one of the best stories in the league last year when he caught 77 passes for a league-high 1448 yards and 11 touchdowns.  Josh McDaniels is gone and John Fox isn’t going to be nearly as pass happy. He already started to show signs of slowing last year. He averaged 68.6 yards in Denver’s last seven games last year after posting a 107.6 average through the first nine games. Lloyd totaled 2370 yards and 15 touchdowns in his first seven seasons so I have every right to be a skeptic.
.
Another factor is Demaryius Thomas’ eventual return. While he’ll likely miss the first half of the year, he should be in the mix for targets down the stretch. Eddie Royal and Eric Decker will also compete for looks. Plus, let’s not forget Fox’s penchant for running the football. The Panthers, even when they were struggling, were always one of the top running teams in the league. Knowshon Moreno should get plenty of looks.
.
There just seems to be too many factors that aren’t in Lloyd’s favor. I hope he proves me wrong because I’d love to see that Cinderella story continue, but in terms of being a fantasy stud WR I think his carriage turns back into a pumpkin in 2011.


.
Marcell Dareus to the Broncos just makes sense. They ranked 31st in the league against the run last year giving up 154.6 rushing yards per game. Denver allowed a league-high 26 rushing touchdowns. They also tied for the second worse yards per carry average at 4.7 ypc. Because they were unable to get a solid pass rush, ranking dead last with just 23 sacks, they were also vulnerable to the pass. The Broncos gave up 236.3 passing yards per game, which ranked 25th in the league. They tied for 24th with 26 passing touchdowns allowed. Denver allowed more total yards and total points than any other team in the league.
.
It’s no wonder they have the number two pick in the draft and a new, defensive-minded head coach. Elvis Dumervil’s return from a torn chest muscle should help their defense. He had 17 sacks in 2009 and he should immediately help their pass rush. Adding a force like Dareus who stands at 6’4″, 318 pounds with good quickness would help them get them stuff the run.  Teams could also be forced to double-team him, which would help their pass rush. If the Broncos are able to get to the quarterback faster the corners don’t have to hold their coverage as long. It’s really a trickle down effect.
.
But what if he’s gone? Carolina has major issues on defense as well. Granted their offense is in more dire need of a makeover, but what if they deem both Cam Newton and Blaine Gabbert not worth the risk of the number one pick? What if they don’t want to go with a cornerback or a receiver with the top pick. What if they steals Marcell Dareus right under Denver’s nose?
.
Trading down would make sense. There are a number of teams that would be interested in adding a potential franchise quarterback. Dallas would love to get their hands on Patrick Peterson in case both he and Prince Amukamara are selected before it’s their time to take the podium. The Niners would be a nice team to deal with if they wanted to take Newton or Gabbert. You could then take consolation prize Nick Fairley.
.
If they don’t trade out of the two spot I think they have to go with Patrick Peterson. With Tim Tebow it doesn’t make sense to draft Newton. You already have a physical specimen at quarterback. If  John Elway believes Gabbert is a franchise quarterback, perhaps he goes in that direction. That doesn’t help you next year and there is no telling if Gabbert will be any better than Orton is. A.J. Green or Julio Jones are options, but you already have Brandon Lloyd, Eddie Royal, Demaryius Thomas, Jabar Gaffney, and Eric Decker. Wide Receiver just isn’t an area of need.
.
That brings us to Peterson. Champ Bailey will turn 33 this summer. How nice would it be to pass the torch to Peterson. He could learn from one of the greatest corners in league history while improving their porous pass defense.
.
What would you do if you were calling the shots for Denver and Marcell Dareus went number one overall?

 | Posted by | Categories: NFL, NFL Draft | Tagged: 2011 NFL Draft, Denver Broncos, NFL, NFL Draft |

.
In a bit of a shocking development, Knowshon Moreno has been ruled out of this week because of an undisclosed injury. Josh McDaniels learned from Bill Belichick so don’t expect an injury update any time soon. Correll Buckhalter and newly acquired Laurence Maroney are expected to carry the load. Given the Broncos match-up against Indianapolis, this is a big blow to Moreno owners. Both Buckhalter and Maroney are risky plays even in a flex slot.

 

Josh McDaniels took in one of the Patriots’ castoffs, picking up RB Laurence Maroney in a trade. Maroney’s fantasy value doesn’t change unless there is an injury to Knowshon Moreno. He will merely provide depth along with Correll Buckhalter.

 

As for the Patriots, this solidifies Fred Taylor’s starting gig. Sammy Morris, Kevin Faulk, and BenJarvus Green-Ellis will share the load.

 

If you were holding onto Mauroney in hopes that he would win back his starting gig with the Pats, feel free to cut him loose.


Partner of USA TODAY Sports Digital Properties